Campaigners wary over hospital plan
Published on: 03 Dec 2015
CAMPAIGNERS have given a very cautious welcome to an apparent change of heart over Frenchay Community Hospital.
Fears that the promised hospital would never be built have been growing since South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group said in 2013 that it wanted to see a “health and social care centre” - in effect a 68-bed nursing home – on the site.
But last month the CCG announced that it was proposing a 74-bed community hospital at Frenchay and the same number of beds at Thornbury Hospital. Each site would have 44 rehabilitation beds and 30 nursing beds.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement: “The announcement of a new hospital at on the Frenchay site demonstrates our commitment to the NHS locally.”
The CCG will now prepare its business case for the development of the hospitals at Frenchay and Thornbury, with plans expected to be completed in March next year.
Barbara Harris, from Downend, a spokeswoman for the Save Frenchay Community Hospital Group, said the announcement of commissioning intentions was welcome after a five-year wait.
But she said that until more details were available, she remained wary.
“There are no details of the levels of service provision for these units, nor of staffing levels.
“The public need to know exactly what is being proposed and what services there will be in support of those beds. Will this be a community hospital or will it be the ‘nursing home beds’ which the South Gloucestershire CCG had threatened? What diagnostic tests, X-rays etc, will be available for patients and will a geriatrician be in attendance?
“What is clear, however, is these proposals fall far short of the twice formally approved community hospital, with outpatients and diagnostic clinics, which would have saved residents from having to access Southmead Hospital.”
Mrs Harris said the group would be “watching like hawks” to ensure that the new provision met the legal requirement to improve on current services.